ANDOVER (WCCO) — A 6-year-old polka drummer from Andover is snaring lots of attention on YouTube, with his talents reaching more than 1,000 hits a day.
Christopher Ebel started playing on a toy drum set just a few years ago, and without a lesson, stole the show from his family’s polka band, DyVersaCo.
“We let him have it on Christmas Day. I don’t remember if he was 2 or 3, but he would play every day,” said his mother, Lori Ebel, who is also a polka musician. “Now when people come over, it’s ‘I want to pay drums for you.’ So, now we issue ear plugs as people come in, because it gets really loud, but he loves to do it.”
A fan, named Kevin Sage, saw Ebel play and posted the video in hopes to get the attention of the “Ellen Show.”
A faithful crowd has already followed Ebel in the past year, when he plays gigs with his family and family friend, Andy Zurbey, at Marino’s Italian Restaurant in Fridley.
“He’s got at least 10 years before he can start driving the band and the trailer,” joked his father Craig Ebel, who hosts polka radio shows and started playing polka himself at the age of 10 in the Twin Cities.
Percussion and polka go back four generations in Ebel’s family, which may be why he is already being called a polka sensation.
“Yes, it’s in my blood. I just learned it by myself,” said Ebel, who describes the best part is “banging stuff” and said he does want to be a drummer when he grows up.
“Polka music is contagious and it’s happy. You don’t walk away from a polka dance sad or mad, it’s always happy,” said his mother. “He loves to play, smiles constantly. You can see in his body he gets into the music, doing breaks and knowing licks and things people three to four times his age don’t do.”
For loyal fans, Ebel is more than a sensation. He’s a measure of tradition and is bringing the beat to a new era — and all before the start of first grade.
“I am very proud of my son, for what he’s going to carry on,” said his father, who added that Ebel is going to have to take a break from the family band, because when school starts next week, the gigs go past his bedtime.